NSA Colleague Describes Life With Snowden: ‘A Genius’ Who Wore EFF Anti-NSA Hoodies to Work
Snowden had been brought to Hawaii as a cybersecurity expert working for Dell’s services division but due to a problem with the contract was reassigned to become an administrator for the Microsoft intranet management system known as Sharepoint. Impressed with his technical abilities, Snowden’s managers decided that he was the most qualified candidate to build a new web front-end for one of its projects, despite his contractor status. As his coworker tells it, he was given full administrator privileges, with virtually unlimited access to NSA data. “Big mistake in hindsight,” says Snowden’s former colleague. “But if you had a guy who could do things nobody else could, and the only problem was that his badge was green instead of blue, what would you do?”
Snowden’s superiors were so impressed with his skills that he was at one point offered a position on the elite team of NSA hackers known as Tailored Access Operations. He unexpectedly turned it down and instead joined Booz Allen to work at NSA’s Threat Operation Center. Another hint of his whistleblower conscience, aside from the telltale hoodie: Snowden kept a copy of the constitution on his desk to cite when arguing against NSA activities he thought might violate it.
And those things aren’t hints “about his whistleblower conscience,” they’re hints that he’s a gigantic security risk.